Camping in Montezuma

IMG_8367 Montezuma is an old mining town in Colorado, the population in 2010 was 65.

0823151408 IMG_8374We found a great camping spot. There were wild raspberries growing on the ridge just behind us.

IMG_8390Roadside Colorado-sourced dinner:  Grilled leftover pizza from Pizza 101, and beers from Ska Brewing in Wibby Brewing coozies.

IMG_8372 IMG_8392 IMG_8381We explored some of the surrounding mining roads by bike and  by truck.

IMG_8382 IMG_8384 IMG_8385There were many areas to hike just off of the mining roads.  Riker needed a break from all the activity.

IMG_8410 (2) IMG_8411 (2)One last stop at the Dillon Reservoir water treatment plant to empty our tanks, and it’s on to the next stop.

Climbing up to Keystone

Keystone was our next stopping point in Colorado, where we met up again with Mike and Lauren, who we last saw in Detroit.

IMG_8294The Tundra performed admirably climbing Loveland Pass, elevation 11990 feet.

IMG_8305A panorama of Loveland Pass, near the Continental Divide (click photo for larger image)

IMG_8314What goes up, must come down.

IMG_8365A view of some of the mountains of Keystone Ski Resort, and the creek that feeds the snow making machines.

IMG_8366We enjoyed music and food from local vendors at the Mountain Town Music Festival. Peaches were in season at the time and just about every food there used them in one way or another.

0824151841bA refreshing beverage at the Tiki Bar on Dillon Reservoir was a great way to end a day.

IMG_8397A view of Dillon Reservoir from higher up.

IMG_20150922_223836We drove into Boulder for the Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride, a weekly community bicycle ride. The riders wear costumes based on the theme, which changes each week. The theme for the ride we attended was superheroes. It was fun to socialize with the other riders and ride through the city, wishing everyone a “Happy Thursday.”

Wibby Brewing

IMG_8283Our good friend, Ryan, is the brewmaster at Wibby Brewing, an all lager brewery in Longmont, Colorado.  The brewery was not yet open to the public at the time of our visit, but the grand opening is happening in less than two weeks.

IMG_8286Our fantastic sheltered parking space.  This pavilion used to be where tractor trailers of turkeys would wait to unload at the Butterball plant that used to be across the street.

IMG_82630819151300In addition to seeing Ryan, we met Ted, Martha, Mickey, and Buster, the whole Lager Family.  It was great getting  behind the scenes look at the brewery before it opened.  We also had a chance to sample the beers, which were excellent.

IMG_8264Ryan takes the Z50R for a spin as Mickey gives chase.

0818151914We were happy to help assemble 70 some-odd stools in time for the brewery’s grand opening.

IMG_8281Thank you, everyone at Wibby Brewing enough for being such great hosts.  We can’t wait to head to our favorite bar(s) for a Wibby brew!

Halfway to Longmont

Loveland, Colorado is our halfway stopping point between Fort Collins and our next destination, Longmont.  Loveland is probably best known for being the home of the Valentine Re-Mailing Program.

IMG_8250IMG_8255Tjej cat made a rare front seat appearance during the drive

IMG_8259Riker decides he’s had enough walking.

IMG_8260Overnighting in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, Colorado flag in the distance.

 

Fort Collins and Rocky Mountain National Park

IMG_8199Fort Collins is our first stop in Colorado.  We found a great camping spot for the bgrig at the Horsetooth Reservoir.   Having a view of mountains, and access to water was the perfect start to our stay.

IMG_8197First morning in Colorado.  There was no cell phone service in the campground, which was a fine excuse to take the KLR out for a quick ride to a higher elevation.  Horsetooth Reservoir is visible in the background.

IMG_8200Being unhitched from the trailer made visiting Rocky Mountain National Park a whole lot easier.  First, we drove up Old Fall River Road, the first road for cars that allowed access to higher elevations in the park. The road is unpaved and has many switchbacks and no guardrails.

IMG_8204IMG_8205IMG_8221A few views taken on Old Fall River Road

IMG_8219The view after a short hike just before the road ends at Fall River Pass, 11,796 feet above sea level.  (Click image to enlarge)

IMG_8218Breathing a  little harder in the thin air!

IMG_8231The drive to and from the park was by canyon road.  There was still evidence of prior floods.

Here’s a video driving through the canyon.

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National park in South Dakota is the first cave to be designated a national park, and is currently the sixth longest cave in the world.

IMG_8141Our first evening in the park was spent above ground in the grasslands.  There are designated trails through the grasslands, but visitors are allowed to hike on and off trail.  During our hike we saw elk, bison, prairie dogs, and rabbits.

This rabbit was clearly not a stranger to the camera.

IMG_8178The elevator into the cave.

0813151057d0813151019a0813150955A few photos of the inside of Wind Cave.

0813150953cWind Cave has one of the largest deposits of Boxwork in the world.

IMG_8184New areas of the cave are being discovered each year.  The person or team that maps a new area gets to name it.  There are a few tongue in cheek names on the map.

Rushmore for less… or free.

IMG_8107Floppy takes the wheel on the way to Mt. Rushmore

IMG_8126The free view from the road

IMG_8130Roadside lunch with George Washington

The Black Hills

IMG_8011Sturgis, South Dakota is probably best known for being home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This year’s rally is the 75th anniversary of the event, and a record 1 million bikers attended. We opted to take some advice we got earlier in the trip and arrived in Sturgis the week after the rally to avoid the mad house.

IMG_8015The Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis

IMG_8100We found a great camp site at Days End Campground.  Our campground neighbor, Gene was a true dyed in the wool biker that treated us to pizza and whiskey after we helped him pick up his fallen motorcycle.  The campground also gave us a good jumping off point to unhitch the trailer and explore the Black Hills.

IMG_8022We drove to nearby Deadwood, an old west gold town that is also the final resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

IMG_8042There are many excellent hiking spots along Spearfish Canyon.

IMG_8073Riker cools off in Spearfish Creek

IMG_8098IMG_8082

IMG_8084Community Caves was the most memorable hike of the day.  The long, steep climb was rewarded with caves and a waterfall.  (click the image for a larger view)

IMG_8086The view from an additional climb above the caves was even better, and really put the height of the climb into perspective. (click the image for a larger view)

IMG_8092Pointing to where we parked the truck.

Exploring the Badlands

Badlands National Park is the first national park visited on our trip.  We purchased a pass that can be used at all National Parks and Federal Lands, which we hope to put to good use.


Driving Badlands Loop was a nice change of pace from interstates.

Floppy and Riker enjoying the scenery.

Some Badlands scenery

The Notch trail features a ladder and a somewhat precarious walk along the edge of a cliff.

IMG_8009IMG_8008Quick refuel stop, and we’re off to Sturgis!

Now entering South Dakota

Entering South Dakota brought a change of scenery.

Based on the front of the trailer, there apparently are (or were) a lot of bugs on the prairie.

Our first stop was Wall Drug, a drug store that opened in 1931 which became well known and successful after offering free ice water to the weary travelers passing through.

 Wall Drug still offers free water to this day, and has since expanded to become a tourist attraction known the world over.  In addition to the drug store itself, there is a cafe, western themed mall, chapel, museum, and various oddities to check out.

08101509170810150916fThe Jackelope is one of Wall Drug’s better known attractions.

We were able to take advantage of free overnight parking at Wall Drug.

Handmade donuts, sticky bun, and famous $0.05 coffee for breakfast at Wall Drug.

 We had a few eBay shipments to make at the post office in Wall.